"It was a bit of a surprise, but also not unexpected," said Tim Henman, a retired English tennis player. "We gave it our best shot, but we're simply not good at sport. It would be foolish and a waste of time and resources to keep trying to succeed in athletics."
The Cameron-Queen Elizabeth II statement said that England will uphold its commitment to host this year's Wimbledon tournament as well as the Summer Olympics in July and August.
"We carry through on our promises," it read. "However, we want to make a new promise: no English athlete will compete in Wimbledon or the Olympics or in football or cricket or golf or any sport ever again. Because we wish to put an end to the heartbreak and humiliation that sport brings to English people. That is our promise to you."
English soccer captain Steven Gerrard said he was relieved by the decision.
"I like playing football, but who are we trying to kid?" he said. "We are a weak and sickly people. Strong of mind, but weak of body. With sports behind us, we can focus on things we are good at. Like pop music. And history."
Other nations expressed gratitude to the English for their time on the field of play.
"Germany always respected your effort," wrote German chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement. "England was always a tough opponent before inevitably losing."
"We will miss the laughs England provided over the years," said U.S. President Barack Obama. "And while they may think they accomplished nothing, we Americans are quite impressed by their soccer team."